I’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions. I know that they can be a great motivation for many people but I’m afraid I don’t really see the point. Why should this particular change of date matter more than any other? If you want to make changes in your life then do it when you’re ready – whatever time of year that may be!
However, there is always one thing I do find myself doing every January – slightly changing how I eat. It’s not because I’ve challenged myself to lose weight or get fitter. It’s because I’ve inevitably eaten and drunk too much in the preceding weeks and just can’t carry on like that. I’ve always been a comfort eater and when the nights start to draw in after October I seem to have an innate desire to prepare for hibernation. Although it’s still dark and dingy at this time of year, as soon as Christmas is out of the way my mind clears and I’m ready to eat sensibly again. It’s out with the shortcut cooking, goodbye to the takeaways and time to have fun in the kitchen again!
After the excesses of Christmas I actually want to eat nice, fresh, healthy food at this time of year. It doesn’t feel like a diet or a chore at all. I find that eating well gives me the motivation I need to get through the rest of winter, impatiently waiting for Spring to finally arrive. The thought of coming home to a dinner like this Lemon & Rosemary Salmon with Chorizo Pearl Barley sure keeps me going.
And frankly, why wouldn’t it? There’s a lot to love here. The salmon itself it treated with a very light touch. It’s sandwiched between slices of lemon and some sprigs of rosemary, which impart a delicate flavour to the fish as it cooks. A quick blast in the oven for no more than 20 minutes is all that’s needed, ensuring it stays moist and tender.
The salmon sits on top of a mound of pearl barley flavoured with the deep smokiness of chorizo and earthiness of spinach. The addition of some fresh rosemary also helps keep the flavours robust, which I find necessary with pearl barley. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of its nutty flavour and slightly chewy texture. But without a bit of a helping hand on the flavour front a plate of pearl barley can quickly turn into a bit of a nightmare.
Here the combination of earthy, richly flavoured pearl barley topped with zesty lemon and flaky fish is just about perfect. There’s a nice mixture of textures and flavours, which makes every bite enjoyable. It’s just the sort of dinner I want to be eating right now. And, as a bonus for anyone who is trying to be a little more mindful of what they eat, this big plate of food comes in under 600 kcal!
Lemon & Rosemary Salmon with Chorizo Pearl Barley
For the Chorizo Pearl Barley
- 150 g Pearl Barley
- 750 ml Vegetable Stock
- 50 g Chorizo finely chopped
- 1 small Onion peeled and finely chopped
- 1 clove Garlic peeled and crushed
- 1 tbsp Tomato Purée
- 2 tsp Fresh Rosemary Leaves finely chopped
- 150 g Spinach blanched and shredded
For the Salmon
- 2 Salmon Fillets
- 2 stalks Fresh Rosemary
- 1 Lemon thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- Rinse the barley in cold water, then put into a saucepan with the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and cook for 5-10 minutes, before reducing to a simmer for a further 50 minutes until tender.
- Heat a frying pan over a medium heat, then add the chorizo. Sauté for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the chorizo is tender and has released its bright paprika-rich oil into the pan.
- Add the chopped onions and stir through the oil. Sauté for 10 minutes until the onion is tender and translucent. Add the garlic to the pan, and cook for a further minute or two until fragrant.
- Add the tomato purée, rosemary and spinach to the pan and stir through the onion and chorizo mixture. Keep warm.
- Meanwhile, prepare the salmon. Start by placing half of the lemon slices onto a foil-lined baking tray, then topping with the salmon fillets. Top the salmon with the rosemary stalks and the remaining lemon slices. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.
- When the barley is tender and cooked through, drain thoroughly then add to the onion and chorizo mixture. Stir until fully combined.
- Divide the barley mixture between two plates, then top with the cooked salmon fillets.
|Estimated Values per Serving|
|of which Saturates||9||g|
|of which Sugars||5||g|
|Note: Nutritional information shown is per serving of the above recipe. Any side dishes or garnishes shown in photos are not included in these values, unless they are specifically listed as part of the recipe.|